Being a journalist by trade, maybe the 19th and 20th-century photographs would be more to my taste, but I got lost in the West Pavilion among the Impressionist paintings. I liked Van Gogh’s Irises, and Monet’s Rouen Cathedral in Morning Light. and Wheatstack in the snow. As I moved on to Monet’s Still Life with Flowers and Fruit an unexpected emotion filled my chest and throat. Tears rose to my eyes. The white flowers in the center of the painting, the depth of the fruit in the foreground, what was it about those everyday images that pulled me and held me still.
I sat on a bench to view the paintings one by one, brush strokes of light drawing me in as though I might find all the meaning I’d ever sought. Not a desperate seeking, rather in the blue shadows behind the wheatstack I paused, drinking in the wonder that overflowed the cup of the unknown. Savoring the mystery more powerful than all the answers I might chase on another day.
Though my cheeks grew wet as people came and went, I stayed as long as I dared, leaving with only a few moments to scan the exhibit of photographs taken before, during and after Cuba’s 1959 revolution. I tried to memorize the candids of Che Guevara, so I could describe them later to my teenage son. This boy, a reluctant reader with no interest in history found something in Che that induced him to read a book one summer vacation. The hidden depths in all of us wait to be awakened.